Mensa for Kids – I need a Super Hero Unit

I Need a Superhero

Download the PDF version of this lesson plan.


Hereos pin

The idea of the hero is something that even very small children understand at some level. Many perennially favorite picture books feature heroic characters (such as Max in Where the Wild Things Are — a retelling of Homer’s Odyssey). As children grow, their exposure to different manifestations of the hero broadens. They encounter heroes in television, movies, books, magazines and music, and on the pages of their local newspapers.

The heroic archetype features prominently in literary analysis at the high school level. A clear understanding of, and the ability to manipulate and apply, this idea is critical to any approach to world literature for the high school student. Unlike most of the Mensa Foundation’s lesson plans, this one includes the reading of a long novel as its culminating assignment.

This lesson plan was designed to tie into the Mensa Hero Bracket Challenge that began in the October 2010 issue of the Mensa Bulletin, with the results announced in the March 2011 issue. It is not necessary to read the article, however, for students to benefit from the lesson plan. If you are a member of Mensa, you (or your students) may read about the Hero Bracket Challenge in the October 2010 issue.

Guiding Questions

  • What makes a hero?
  • Where do we find heroes?
  • How are heroes in books different from heroes in real life?
  • What is the journey of the hero and how does the archetype manifest itself?

Learning Objectives
After completing the lessons in this unit, students will be able to:

  • Explain what makes a hero and the elements of the heroic journey.
  • Recognize heroic figures in multiple media.
  • Analyze a literary work for the heroic archetype.
  • Analyze a piece of literature for elements of the hero and the heroic journey.
  • Write an essay comparing and contrasting heroes in two works.


  • Ensure Internet access to look up relevant sites.
  • Get a copy of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.
  • Print out copies of this plan as needed.

The “Look Fors” in Highly Able Children


Gifted Observation Checklist

1-Not Observed, 2-Occasionally Observed, 3-Frequently Observed, 4-Consistently Observed
Processes new information quickly
Displays a broad range of knowledge
Understands concepts beyond their age level
Demonstrates strong reasoning skills
Perseveres when faced with challenging tasks
Works independently and with focus
Completes tasks in a thorough and thoughtful way
Asks probing questions (inquisitive)
Shares comments which demonstrate insight
Generates imaginative/unique ideas/solutions
Adapts, improves, extends, modifies ideas

Math WebQuests

Math Webquests enable online explorations in mathematics. Each webquest is a unique exploration designed to be fun and engaging. Webquests make connections between mathematics and the real-world. Students who embark on webquests become engaged in both finding information and learning from it. Give it a try!


Exponents and Scientific Notation

Scientists use math to express relationships and to measure the size and distance of objects. For example, scientific notation is used to express a planet’s distance from the sun, or the size of bacteria. Explore these connections!

Integers and Science

Explore the connections between integers and science. The boiling and freezing point of liquids, the melting and freezing points of solids, and the temperature of planets, are all expressed as integers. Learn more.

Mathematics and Climate

Scientists use mathematics to better understand oceans, the atmosphere, and polar ice caps. Explore climate change, and how it is monitored.

Mathematics and Sports

Math plays an important role in sports! We have four webquests on Win-Loss Percentage, graphing data for Olympics and Super Bowls, Batting Average and ERA, and the NBA Draft Lottery. Explore this exciting group of webquests.

Mathematics and the Summer Olympics

The 2012 Summer Olympic Games are being held in London from July 27 to August 12. Discover the exciting connections between math and the Summer Olympic Games with this quest!

Number Theory

Are you ready to help your garden grow using multiples? Count with Fibonacci? Bake with Eratosthenes? We invite you toexplore these fun topics!

Percent in Daily Life

Students often question the need to learn mathematical topics. Whether you are shop, work, or play sports, you are using percent. Learn more!

Pi Day Celebration

Pi Day is celebrated around the world on March 14. Explore the history and meaning of Pi, and choose activities to Celebrate Pi Day!


LEAP Camp 2017 Looking for Teachers & Volunteers- WLU Camp for Gifted & Highly

Our campers are gifted/highly able children and youth in grades 1-9 who are looking for a day camp experience that piques their curiosity and has a large “fun” quotient.


leap_frogDear Teacher:

The Faculty of Education is once again offering a series of Saturday morning enrichment camps, Sensational Saturdays, for local gifted/highly able children and youth in grades 1-9. The focus of the LEAP (Laurier Enriched Academic Program) camps is on enrichment, where basic skills are supported through imaginative activities. All camps are proposed and led by certified teachers who are assisted by volunteers. Camps will be held in the Bricker Academic Building on the Waterloo Laurier campus.

The camps will run from 9:00 a.m. – 12 noon on January 28, February 4, 11, 18, 25 and March 4, 2017. Each camp includes a 15 minute break about halfway through the morning. There will be 10-20 participants in each camp and camps will run based on a minimum enrollment. If you would like to design and run a camp with a theme that is of interest to you, this is a great opportunity. All six sessions must relate to a single theme. We are looking for highly interactive teaching methods, integration of the arts and creative and critical thinking skills, and all of the multiple intelligences. Please see the attached info sheet for more details.

If you are interested in proposing a camp, please fill out the attached curriculum template completely and return it, along with a current resume, to LEAP via fax (519) 884-8697 or email to by October 14, 2016. We will determine which camps will be offered by late October/early November and thereafter send out promotional materials to schools and parents. Registration closes in early January 2017 and decisions regarding the final camp offerings will be made at that time. Please feel free to share this invitation with interested colleagues.

If there are any questions, please contact LEAP at

Colleen Willard-Holt

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Canadian Opera Company Field Trips

Canadian Opera Company

“This thrill and appreciation of opera (and of all art forms) is a critical part of an education curriculum which ensures an understanding and appreciation that in art and music, one can find inspiration, joy, escapism, awe and humanistic insight – which to me, are all very necessary elements of character development.” Teacher, Dundas Public School


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